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SPECIAL REPORT: Breaking the stigmas on mental health

CBS 13's Mercedes Martinez brings us the story of two women who have bloomed through adversity

(KYMA, KECY) - The struggles of mental health are far too often known to be a silent battle for many.

Two women share their experience in light of breaking stigmas and bringing awareness to mental health.

Since an early age, Cynthia Luna knew she had a calling to be in front of an audience and help others.

The now author and motivational speaker has done just that, but knowing her purpose in life wasn’t always the case. On the contrary, Luna struggled with mental health and felt she had no purpose in life.

Luna said her biggest battle was not loving herself. Her her emotions of feeling worthless began in her teenage years and heightened in high school as she began to harm herself. She knew this was not okay and decided to tell her mom.

“I feel that in our culture which is the hispanic culture, we’re not very, we’re still not okay with that term of depression and we don’t know how to respond,” said Luna.

Luna continued to battle with depression and anxiety later in life. The feelings of hopelessness came again when she felt stuck in a job she was not happy with.

Luna said she had to make a decision because it was getting so bad that it was not only hurting her and her family.

After leaving the job she was not happy with, the doors of opportunity opened for Cynthia. She later met motivational speaker, Dr. Cesar Lozano who inspired her to do the same and eventually wrote her own book to share her own story and help others who are struggling with mental health feel less alone.

“I’m here to tell my audience I understand. I understand what not wanting to wake up means. I understand what locking into your bathroom to just cry the whole day. I understand,” said Luna.

Luna now practices in breaking the stigmas of mental health by teaching the next generation that emotions are okay. Luna says she talks to her kids and tells her own son that it is okay to cry.

Relationship and spiritual mentor, Denicka Lopez grew up with her own struggles of mental health and was brought up within a hispanic community. She now shares her story with others through her podcast, 'Inward Journey Home.'

“I think that stories is the most important and the most under-appreciated medicine that there is," said Lopez.

Denicka felt she couldn’t escape her mind when it came to having bad thoughts after moving away from her hometown with her family. But she did try to communicate her feelings.

Lopez said, “they heard me, but they didn’t acknowledge the reality I was living in.”

Unfortunately, she was forcefully acknowledged after her actions of self harm led her to be in the hospital. After realizing what she had done and noticing her struggling neighbor, she realized this was not what she wanted. She wanted to help those who were going through a mental battle too.

“There was something so real about seeing other people suffering that woke me up to my purpose and my mission,” said Lopez.

Denicka moved forward and pursued a degree in psychology then received her teaching credential. After not feeling fulfilled in her career path, she took the leap of faith, used her knowledge of psychology and teaching skills and started her own business, “Journey to Self.” Through her course she teaches tools and techniques for people to heal and grow.

“Empowering others. That you know what? It’s possible for you too and your story matters and the trials and tribulations and the scatter and the lostness, that is a part of the story and you’re only just beginning,” Lopez said.

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Mercedes Martinez

Mercedes Martinez joined the KSWT team as anchor/producer in October 2020. You can catch her on 13 On Your Side at 4:00pm.

Reach out to Mercedes at

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